A lot of people wonder whether or not there will be another great MMO that shattered records and defined a generation like World of Warcraft. And in a world where the new generation has grown up without seeing the “glory days” of MMOs, it seems unlikely that such a world-changing innovation will occur again.
The days of the subscription model pulling in millions of players are pretty much over. In a marketplace where freemium and PaytoPlay rule the MMO landscape, there isn’t much consumer demand for monthly expenditures on untested brands when there are better established options out there. In a perfect world, consumers would be capable and willing to engage in many different MMOs at once, but most people only have the patience and economic constraints to handle one, maybe two at the most.
The paradigm in gaming is definitely shifting, with the audience that remembers the days before microtransactions were the norm aging; the new crop of gamers are being socialized into accepting a pretty crappy state of mobile gaming and general crap from publishers and the industry. I think that within the next decade we’ll see another big shift with the advent of advanced VR becoming more the norm.
It must also be considered that a large percentage of players are resistant to the current state of gaming. Kerfuffles over DRM and restrictive gameplay mechanics in F2P games railroading players, some are feeling a bit left out. And some are outright hostile to the current crop of popular games. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that for every loud dissenting voice, there ten content quiet gamers enjoying their entertainment.
With games like EVE Valkyrie poised to step up and create a new genre of VR action games, the groundwork is definitely being laid for the next evolution of gaming. With declining subscription numbers and many MMOS going “free to play” to support development, the future of the massively multiplayer online game seems uncertain.
But to me, it feels as though resistance to the evolution of gaming is well-intentioned. The gamers who push against bad development or publishing practices feel compelled to protect the thing they care deeply about. And frankly, I agree; entertainment should be something that should be as open and free as possible for everyone to enjoy. And allowing exploitative or damaging practices is something gamers should fight against.
All in all, MMOs are going to change as technology and public opinion become more evolved. We age, our needs and desires change, so too do our habits of entertainment. The only question that remains is exactly what form this change will take.
What do you think will be the next great leap forward in gaming.